EDISON, NJ - Hackensack Meridian Health JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute received a grant of $12,000 to pilot a program called the JRI Parkinson’s Choir, as part of the Parkinson’s Foundation 2019 Community Grants program.  This new program will benefit people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) by improving voice and breathing issues as well as helping to address social and emotional needs. 

Roger P. Rossi, D.O., director of JFK Johnson’s Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Program, will oversee the medical and clinical aspects of the program, while Janice Dibling, MS, CCC/SLP, speech pathology manager, will be responsible for implementation.  Alyson Chananie, MS, CCC/SLP, speech language pathologist, will direct the choir.

“Receiving this community grant from the Parkinson’s Foundation recognizes the outstanding team of professionals at JFK Johnson for providing comprehensive services to our Parkinson’s disease community,” said Dr. Rossi. “The JRI Parkinson’s Choir will draw particular attention to our outstanding speech language pathologists and the integral role of speech and voice therapy in improving not only vocal volume but also self-esteem, cognition, facial expression and overall quality of life.” 

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  The Parkinson’s Foundation awarded more than $1.5 million in community grants. This year’s grant cycle focused on three areas including programs that provide a service for underserved PD communities, initiatives that reach the newly diagnosed and clinical trial education and participation that reach those under-represented in the PD community. 

“We are proud to announce these community grants and expand programs and resources in Parkinson’s communities across the entire nation,” said John L. Lehr, Parkinson’s Foundation president and chief executive officer. “These grant recipients share our passion and commitment to making life better for people with Parkinson’s.”

“The support we’re receiving from the Parkinson’s Foundation community grant will help choir participants and audiences enjoy the therapeutic and social benefits of singing,” said Alyson Chananie, choir director. “We are thrilled that we can now provide people with Parkinson’s and their care partners this unique program that will change the way they live with PD for the better.”

For the full list of the 2019 grant recipients visit parkinson.org/2019grants.